Hall of Fame greats Hubert Green and Peter Thomson pass away
Two World Golf Hall of Fame members—Hubert Green and Peter Thomson—passed away in a 24-hour timespan.
Alabama native Green, 71, a 19-time PGA Tour winner who won the 1977 U.S. Open and 1985 PGA, died Tuesday, no longer able to fight off the effects of throat cancer, which he’d suffered from for several years. Green was a distinctive swinger, with his hands held low and the club swung quickly and briskly. His tenacious ability was never more on display than when he won the U.S. Open under a death threat in the final round at Southern Hills.
The Australian Thomson (pictured on home page), born within weeks of Arnold Palmer in 1929, died at age 88 on Wednesday. Thomson was one of the first international stars who brought his game to several continents. He won his fifth Open Championship in 1965, tied with Tom Watson, J.H.Taylor and James Braid for second behind Harry Vardon’s six victories. The knock against Thomson was his American record; he only won once on the PGA Tour. His low ball-flight was better on links-style courses, not U.S. parkland courses. But he was more than a shotmaker. He was a cerebral man who was opinionated and worldly and sought after for his leadership on world golf issues. Three times he captained the International team in the Presidents Cup.
I met him on a couple of occasions, the most enjoyable at a Florida tour stop when I was asked to get his opinion on an architectural issue. He spoke with great articulation and intelligence and I couldn’t have been more impressed with his fervent opinions. He liked to know what was going on in the game and he wanted to be a part of its future direction.
Thomson didn’t suffer fools too well and had a great practical nature. He would talk amusedly about Palmer, hinting Arnie could have achieved more by keeping his mind on his golf rather than show so much interest in being Arnold Palmer. But Thomson appreciated talent and he himself was interested in a wide-range of hobbies and interests. He was an original, no question, and it’s a shame the golf world has lost someone of his stature who was a link to when players were admired more for being strategic and playing the game along the ground rather than the modern bomb and gouge approach.